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Mel L. Barclay

A devoted family man and passionate humanistic physician and medical educator, Mel Barclay died February 2, 2010 at home in Ann Arbor.

Mel was a learned man; he wrote and studied poetry, excelled in mathematics, and was encyclopedic on environmental and cosmological issues. He was equally fun-loving and enjoyed playing softball (demonstrating the physics of knuckle balls while playing catch with his grandsons), ice-skating, and bicycling. He was a talented artist, skilled craftsman, and wonderful cook, providing infinite love, care, support, and laughter to his wife, Rosalyn; children, Joshua (Mary Ledvina) and Beth (Gala Kile); beloved grandchildren, Zev and Teo; and siblings, Greta Upson and Geraldine Barclay (Beverly Hills, MI).

Upon graduation from Wayne State University Medical School in 1967, Mel earned recognition from peers and medical school faculty as the "student whose personality and character best embodied the concept of the humanistic physician." The award reflected the qualities he brought to his professional career for more than 30 years.

In 1973, Dr. Barclay joined the faculty of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Michigan, where he remained until retirement. His long career at U of M combined his passionate interest in teaching, computing, and providing medical care to the whole person, earning him an Excellence In Teaching Award from the Association of Professors of Gynecology and Obstetrics, and a Life-time Achievement Award in Medical Education from the University of Michigan.

During the 1980's, long before Facebook, many junior medical students were patiently introduced to the computer through Dr. Barclay's online, educationally focused, computer conference. He imaginatively expressed support of his colleagues by sponsoring bus trips to Detroit Tiger games (drinks, food and peanuts included), distributing beautifully illustrated pocket protectors, passing out red hot gumballs to beleaguered staff in medical clinics and questioning arbitrary and unneeded polices and procedures.

His sense of humor was keen; his laughter was frequent, full and contagious. His progressive interests were expressed through Physicians Of Social Responsibility and supporting environmental causes among others. Many people “enjoyed” quizzes about environmental Issues and "Natural Gas Facts" when driving in the natural gas vehicles he owned from 1989 to the present. In the last several years, he was able to pursue his love of poetry, geology and especially higher mathematics in courses at the University of Michigan-Dearborn. And, though retired, he continued to work on mathematical models of the human uterus at the University of Michigan Center of Complex Systems.

He never stopped learning, teaching, or growing-his life was not only a joy but also an inspiration to others. As one former student so aptly said, “Mel was one of only a few who truly made a difference in our lives, teaching us to always THINK, THINK, THINK, for which I will forever be thankful.

In addition to his wife, children, grandchildren, and sisters, Dr. Barclay, the son of the late Rachel and Joseph Barclay leaves nephews, Eric (Lorene Sterner) Lipson, Mark (Susan) Lipson, Steve (Jane) Lipson, James and Jonathon Maas, siblings-in-law Marilyn Maas, Carolyn Weiss and Eugene (Lynne) Loren, Joe Zakaria, grand-nieces and nephews, numerous friends, and colleagues at the University of Michigan.